Budapest: Two squads reunited on stage to celebrate Haydn

“Haydn in London”Haydneum Festival Opening Ceremony

It was founded on the initiative of the Hungarian conductor Georgi Vashige under the name Haydneum, a Hungarian center of early and classical music dedicated to disseminating the productions of Joseph Haydn (and his brother Michael) and to promoting the works of their contemporaries (on a larger scale than the Hungarian-related Baroque repertoire). What could be more natural when you learn that Joseph Haydn spent a large part of his life in the service of the Hungarian princes, the Esterházys. Away from the concerts, the center, inspired by the Baroque Center of Music at Versailles, offers discussions, conferences and training. As far as concerts are concerned, it presents the Hungarian public with two highlights through festivals that take place every fall and every spring.

This year, at the opening of the festival, a concert was held under the title “Haydn in London” The combination of two symphonies by the Austrian master complemented by two notes by Salieri and Cherubini. Asala: A concert that brings together two groups on stage. Next to the Orchestra, the Concert de la Loge, all under the direction of Julien Chauvin. On the program: Symphony No. 100, “army” and 101 “the hour”and the slots “Al-Hourati” by Salieri and “Demophone” by Cherubini.


Haydn resided twice in London (1791-92, 1794-95). During his second residency, he delivered symphonies included in the program this evening. These residencies were held at the invitation of a certain Salomon, an amphitheater (and himself a composer) who then dominated London’s musical life.

Among the most famous and perhaps most successful Austrian masters, the Military Symphony (No. 100 in G) owes its name to the important “Turkish” percussion (triangle, cymbals, bass drum) used in the second movement (and in the final coda). It was a huge hit right from its inception and for a long time remained a London crowd favourite. It was first performed in the same month of March 1794, the so-called symphony “the hour” (No. 101 in D), she owes her pseudonym, here again, to her second movement (andante in G major), which has remained equally famous. A few years ago (1786-1788) Salieri and Cherubini left us initiatives that were included in the programme, both commissioned by the Paris Opera.

After celebrating its 30th anniversary last year, the Orfeo Orchestra, founded and directed by Hungarian conductor György Vashige, played ancient instruments. Most recently, the Metz-based Concert de la Loge was created in 2015 by violinist Julien Chauvin. He also specializes in baroque music and also plays ancient musical instruments. Two formations gathered this evening under the leadership of the French Chef. Happy initiative (suggesting good mutual knowledge and understanding between musicians).

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When performed in London, Haydn’s symphonies made use of a large orchestra corresponding to nearly twice that of our orchestras generally requested in this repertoire, particularly in wind rank, justifying the juxtaposition of the two compositions this evening. This is it the hour Which, although numbered, was given first. Written in four movements (Adagio-Presto, Andante, Allegretto, Vivace)It was created on March 3, 1794 under the direction of the composer. The last three movements were composed in Austria. Only the first one was completed in London. what I say ? In addition to this famous pendulum movement that evokes the chimes of the clock, we will remember its slow introduction entrusted only to woodwinds and strings followed by a magnificent presto delivering peaks of dramatic intensity with its ‘on the balcony’ passages. It is said alternately in short escalation and decrescendos (Mark Vignal). We’ll also remember the Minette Allegrito, which is longer than usual. As for the perennial, some (Marc Vinal) see in it a certain proximity to Beethoven. A work that ranks among the composer’s most accomplished works and was immediately accepted.

Symphony in G (Military) premiered the following March 31, and was entirely composed in London. The manuscript preserved in Budapest lacks a second movement. Offers the classic form of the four movements (Adagio, Allegretto, Menuetto moderato, Presto). Like the former, the work begins with a long prelude, the first bars of which are given to the strings alone before bringing the full orchestra, particularly in the wind row (flute). A particularly elegant long introduction in which some, not so imaginative (Hermann Kretzschmar) think he sees an ad Radetzky March. To get the second movement in percussion, Haydn re-arranged a 1787 original, adding a majestic coda.


Salieri and Cherubini were set up respectively in Vienna and Paris, and had the opportunity to meet Haydn, who was undoubtedly their influence. Both opera composers are prolific (more than thirty). This is what motivates him to succeed danaids Created by Salieri HoraceInspired by Corneille. The work was first shown at the Royal Academy of Music in December 1786, and did not receive the expected reception, partly due, it is said, to the poor performance of the performers. Created two years later (December 1788) at the same Royal Academy of Music, after Metastasis, the fate of Cherubini’s operas was the happiest, and Gluck especially praised him.


We knew Julian Chauvin and his group because we saw and heard them many times on the channel miso (1). Violin and ensemble with a soft voice, relatively small in size, excel in the Baroque repertoire. But here it was completely different. then ? At first glance – or listen to it… – the transplant is done, and the merger between the orchestra seems to have gone very well. Thanks to the careful work of preparation and rehearsals. Our first impression: energizing interpretations, full of energy, open-minded, and loyal to the composer’s soul. And keep up the pace, which is essential with Hayden, including the well-marked silence before the iterations. All this despite the size of the orchestra (70 instrumentalists), they deliver clear vocals, every desk is clearly audible, clear … and great vocals, especially in the brass row. In this regard, I will mention the ubiquitous and wonderful sounding woodwinds. Not to mention the rhythm. All in unison under the inspiring baton of a chef in great shape this evening. Motivated by the challenge thrown at him, Julien Chauvin, who played the violin during the percussion, danced on the small platform while giving the musicians clear and precise gestures. Heard and recorded many times by the greatest maestro, the interpretation which he gave us this evening of these works may have never seemed to me convincing. The conductor and his musicians sought to restore what the audience was then able to hear and feel, apparently with success. In addition, the musicians play the instruments of the era, which does not spoil anything.


So much for Hayden. And the other two? We first heard about the two initiatives, which were immediately portrayed by their contradiction. Lively, racy with Salieri, dramatic – not without some focus – with Cherubini. If my preference here goes a little to Salieri, we must nevertheless recognize in his opponent an acute sense of drama and a certain depth which would almost make one think, by its tense atmosphere at the opening Don Juan Indeed, it bodes romantics from afar. Cherubini, who liked Beethoven’s operas so much, let’s remember. Quite the opposite with Slyry whose writings are revealed, in the opening heard this evening, deft and offering soul, a very seductive charm. In short, two discoveries made us happy. As an apparition, the conductor and his musicians presented us with a scene fromOrpheus by glock, anger. Here again in a brilliant interpretation which agrees well with the works we have heard earlier.

The audience

Enthusiasm is a weak word. Loud applause and defiance accompanied by small shouts (!) which is a rarity in this place. It must be said that our friend, as a talented actor as a musician, did everything to seduce his audience, to whom he spoke on several occasions, accompanied by his explanations with small touches of humor that elicited laughter and smiles in the room. Only disappointment, this annoying obsession of cheerleading between movements.

A visit that will not go unnoticed and an evening we are not prepared to forget.

Pierre Wallen

(1): Especially in Vivaldi’s great concert with Hungarian soprano Emőke Baráth.

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